The next day held everything in store that cycling has to offer. Apart from rain and headwind. But emotionally. I felt everything from joy to despair to relief and exhaustion.
I enjoyed getting lost in beautiful landscapes along the Guangdong greenway.
I did not enjoy missing the turn off on the highway.
I was not to surprised when a road I was supposed to take did not exist.
I did enjoy a beautiful sunset over a river in the mountains.
I started to worry when pushing my bike uphill in the middle of nowhere after dark. What if this wasn’t a through road after all? What if I am stuck here in the mountains? Everyone was in their houses, I didn’t see a store in ages, I didn’t have proper lunch and no dinner at all yet. So I wasn’t to keen on camping.
Shaking with exhaustion I felt relieved when a motor cyclist came my way. We tried an failed communication so we both went on.* A few k later a shopowner in a small village was able to tell me that I am three k from the next hotel.
And true – a city came up, including a hotel
It’s so fascinating how you can feel like you are in the middle of nowhere in China and BAM – there’s a city, big buildings, everything…
Weather: hot hot hot. Sunny. No rain.
*at this point I put on my really really bright headlight that the … (heavy breathing. Counting to 10…) person in the store didn’t want to sell to me, telling me that I would never ever need that and it’s too bright for cycling. I decide how much light I need. No-one else. It was not to bright. It was sufficient.
I swear I had intentions of leaving early but the hotel was so lovely and then I really had to eat before I started. So it was about 11pm when my wheels touched the road.
Riding out of the city was quiet okay. I was surprised how natural it felt and how easy I got back into cycling Chinese streets.
I followed big to small to tiny roads and just when it started to rain really bad with little warning – the smell of air changed seconds beforehand – I was literally right next to a bench with a sun-rain cover where I dunked under.
And just when I was really tired, really wanted to have a bed, i came past a lovely hotel, with a cheap, reasonable sized (sometimes these rooms are just huge and it feels like this hotel used to have seen some better times), clean (!!!) hotel with awfully nice owners.
Dinner was next door and so would be breakfast.
Wenn deine Klappen sich sanft bewegen.
Wenn du einen kühlen Windhauch über mich gleiten lässt.
Wenn du – Energieeffizienzklasse 3 – meinen ökologischen Fußabdruck auf dieser Reise vergrößerst.
Wenn du die Luft in diesem Raucherhotelzimmer erträglich machst.
Dann will ich dich nie wieder verlassen.
I was greeted with the words a starving cyclist wants to hear: you must be starving. Let’s go eat!
Afterwards we arranged for a diving trip the next day. I had a good time but at the start I was so nervous I could have been diving at a kids pool and it would have been exciting. Plus the visabiliy was 3-5m. I was so scared of losing them I could have gone picky bag diving to meet my desire of safety. But soon I started to enjoy the reefs, crabs and fishes.
That seemed to be the best strategy to get to Stefan in Longgang. Crossing the border to Shenzhen went okay but not smoothly. No one wanted to check my bags or complained about my bicycle. They just looked at me forever.
Once I had a sim card the trouble my bicycle tour was off for a start. I was a bit shy of Chinese roads at first and tried to follow the rules by using the bicycle lane. I forgot how bad this decision was but was quickly reminded. Chinese bike lanes get interrupted every so often. The pavements quality in only so-so and with every road you are crossing you have to get off… Not to mention the times where you need to cross but can’t as the bicycle lane and sidewalk are fenced off the road….
So I finally decided I either get to Stefans now or die trying. Exhausted and annoyed I set off to cycle a really nasty road with huge trucks. And there it was. A really nice pathway for walking and cycling.
This trip is thought to be a round trip around Guangdong province. It might end up one way bike and bus back. I’ll see what happens. The pplan is to cycle from Shenzhen via Nanling National Forest Park, Guilin and Yangshuo back towards Guangzhou.